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Article

Development and Evaluation of a Closed-Loop Control System for Automation of a Mechanical Wild Blueberry Harvester’s Picking Reel

1
Department of Engineering, Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture, Truro, NS B2N 5E3, Canada
2
School of Sustainable Design Engineering, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, PE C1A 4P3, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
AgriEngineering 2020, 2(2), 322-335; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2020022
Received: 26 May 2020 / Revised: 6 June 2020 / Accepted: 8 June 2020 / Published: 11 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Mechanization and Agricultural Automation)
Mechanical harvesting of wild blueberries remains the most cost-effective means for harvesting the crop. Harvesting of wild blueberries is heavily reliant on operator skill and full automation of the harvester will rely on precise and accurate determination of the picking reel’s height. This study looked at developing a control system which would provide feedback on harvester picking reel height on up to five harvester heads. Additionally, the control system looked at implementing three quality of life improvements for operators, operating multiple heads until the point when full automation is achieved. These three functions were a tandem movement function, a baseline function, and a set-to-one function. Each of these functions were evaluated for their precision and accuracy and returned absolute mean discrepancies of 3.10, 2.20, and 2.50 mm respectively. Both electric and hydraulic actuators were evaluated for their effectiveness in this system however, the electric actuator was simply too slow to be deemed viable for the commercial harvesters. To achieve the full 203.2 mm stroke required by the harvester head, the electric actuator required 13.96 s while the hydraulic actuator required only 2.30 s under the same load. View Full-Text
Keywords: control system; agriculture; hydraulics precision machinery; wild blueberry; harvester control system; agriculture; hydraulics precision machinery; wild blueberry; harvester
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MDPI and ACS Style

Esau, T.J.; MacEachern, C.B.; Zaman, Q.U.; Farooque, A.A. Development and Evaluation of a Closed-Loop Control System for Automation of a Mechanical Wild Blueberry Harvester’s Picking Reel. AgriEngineering 2020, 2, 322-335. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2020022

AMA Style

Esau TJ, MacEachern CB, Zaman QU, Farooque AA. Development and Evaluation of a Closed-Loop Control System for Automation of a Mechanical Wild Blueberry Harvester’s Picking Reel. AgriEngineering. 2020; 2(2):322-335. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2020022

Chicago/Turabian Style

Esau, Travis J., Craig B. MacEachern, Qamar U. Zaman, and Aitazaz A. Farooque. 2020. "Development and Evaluation of a Closed-Loop Control System for Automation of a Mechanical Wild Blueberry Harvester’s Picking Reel" AgriEngineering 2, no. 2: 322-335. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriengineering2020022

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